Sunday, July 25, 2021

The Bible Readings and Prayers for Sunday, July 25, 2021

 
Feeding the multitude

The Sunday Bible Readings and Prayers
Sunday, July 25, 2021
2 Samuel 11:1-15; Psalm 14; Ephesians 3:14-21; John 6:1-21 (NIV)
with commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

Miracles

We serve a mighty and powerful God. A God who has done the miraculous throughout history. In the Bible, we see moment after moment where God intervenes in a miraculous way. What about now? Do we believe God can do the same things He did in the Bible? Is He still doing the miraculous today? Do you believe in miracles?

Introduction & Theme

Today’s readings are full of apparent contradictions: faith and sin, acceptance and rejection, strength and weakness, fullness and emptiness. Yet every vile deed lamented by the psalmist is offset by God’s deliverance. If King David was truly that same psalmist, who could know this truth more intimately than the one who had an infamous affair with Bathsheba? Contrast his loathsome selfishness with the incredible selflessness of Jesus, who transformed a meal sufficient for only a few into a feast for five thousand. This is what Paul speaks of as the redemptive power of God’s love, the power to abundantly achieve far more than anything we might ask for or understand.

Opening Prayer

Holy One, we bow our hearts before you this day. Strengthen us in our innermost being and dwell in our hearts through faith. May we be rooted and grounded in Christ, whose love is beyond all knowledge. Help us comprehend even the smallest part of the beautiful mystery of your grace. Grant that we may experience the fullness of your presence with us. Amen.

Call to Confession

You know how we are, Lord. We say that we will take time to refresh our spirits and our souls and then we quickly crowd our lives with activities to the point of exhaustion. We turn to you for feeding and nurture, asking you to give us something to sustain us through our times. We even are willing to tell you what we have, but when we look closely, we discover that we bring so little to you. Take what we have, our gifts and our needs. Heal and forgive us when we boldly disobey your word. Remind us that you have given to us all that we need to serve you in this world. The world abounds with your miracles of love and hope. Open our eyes to see them and our hearts to know that these are from you and not of our own making. Heal and restore us to your everlasting love. In Jesus’ Name, we pray. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon

Cease your fearful fretting! God’s love is lavished upon you. It is always there for you, offering healing and hope. Rest in God’s love. Amen.

Today’s Verse-of-the-Day:
Psalm 119:60
I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands.
True obedience does not look for more opportune circumstances to obey. The best time to obey is right now.

Today’s Lectionary Readings:
From the Books of the Prophets

2 Samuel 11:1-15
Bathsheba and Uriah Wronged by David


11:1 In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem.

2 One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, 3 and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, “She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” 4 Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (Now she was purifying herself from her monthly uncleanness.) Then she went back home. 5 The woman conceived and sent word to David, saying, “I am pregnant.”

6 So David sent this word to Joab: “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” And Joab sent him to David. 7 When Uriah came to him, David asked him how Joab was, how the soldiers were and how the war was going. 8 Then David said to Uriah, “Go down to your house and wash your feet.” So Uriah left the palace, and a gift from the king was sent after him. 9 But Uriah slept at the entrance to the palace with all his master’s servants and did not go down to his house.

10 David was told, “Uriah did not go home.” So he asked Uriah, “Haven’t you just come from a military campaign? Why didn’t you go home?”

11 Uriah said to David, “The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in tents, and my commander Joab and my lord’s men are camped in the open country. How could I go to my house to eat and drink and make love to my wife? As surely as you live, I will not do such a thing!”

12 Then David said to him, “Stay here one more day, and tomorrow I will send you back.” So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day and the next. 13 At David’s invitation, he ate and drank with him, and David made him drunk. But in the evening Uriah went out to sleep on his mat among his master’s servants; he did not go home.

14 In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah. 15 In it he wrote, “Put Uriah out in front where the fighting is fiercest. Then withdraw from him so he will be struck down and die.”

Commentary
Verses 1-5: Observe the occasions of David's sin; what led to it. 1. Neglect of his business. He tarried at Jerusalem. When we are out of the way of our duty, we are in temptation. 2. Love of ease: idleness gives great advantage to the tempter. 3. A wandering eye. He had not, like Job, made a covenant with his eyes, or, at this time, he had forgotten it. And observe the steps of the sin. See how the way of sin is down-hill; when men begin to do evil, they cannot soon stop. Observe the aggravations of the sin. How could David rebuke or punish that in others, of which he was conscious that he himself was guilty?

Verses 6-15: Giving way to sin hardens the heart, and provokes the departure of the Holy Spirit. Robbing a man of his reason, is worse than robbing him of his money; and drawing him into sin, is worse than drawing him into any wordly trouble whatever.


From the Psalter
Psalm 14
God in the Company of the Righteous


1 The fool says in his heart,
     “There is no God.”
  They are corrupt, their deeds are vile;
     there is no one who does good.

2 The Lord looks down from heaven
     on all mankind
  to see if there are any who understand,
     any who seek God.
3 All have turned away, all have become corrupt;
     there is no one who does good,
     not even one.

4 Do all these evildoers know nothing?

  They devour my people as though eating bread;
     they never call on the Lord.
5 But there they are, overwhelmed with dread,
     for God is present in the company of the righteous.
6 You evildoers frustrate the plans of the poor,
     but the Lord is their refuge.

7 Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!
     When the Lord restores his people,
     let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad!


Commentary
Verses 1-6: As it was in the days of Noah so shall it be when the Son of Man comes. Here we have a prophetic forecast of these coming days of corruption and violence. Iniquity abounds, wickedness is on all sides. None do good, none seek after God. While all this is used by the Spirit of God in the Epistle to the Romans to describe the condition of the race at large, here dispensationally it describes the moral conditions in the end of the age.

Verse 7: Will this end? Is there to be a better day than violence and wickedness? When will that day come? It comes when the salvation comes out of Zion (Romans 11:26), when the Lord brings back the captivity of His people, when Israel is restored. That will be when the Lord returns.


From the Epistles
Ephesians 3:14-21
Prayer to Christ


3:14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Commentary
Verses 14-19: The apostle seems to be more anxious lest the believers should be discouraged and faint upon his tribulations, than for what he himself had to bear. He asks for spiritual blessings, which are the best blessings. Strength from the Spirit of God in the inner man; strength in the soul; the strength of faith, to serve God, and to do our duty. If the law of Christ is written in our hearts, and the love of Christ is shed abroad there, then Christ dwells there. Where his Spirit dwells, there he dwells. We should desire that good affections may be fixed in us. And how desirable to have a fixed sense of the love of God in Christ to our souls! How powerfully the apostle speaks of the love of Christ! The breadth shows its extent to all nations and ranks; the length, that it continues from everlasting to everlasting; the depth, its saving those who are sunk into the depths of sin and misery; the height, its raising them up to heavenly happiness and glory. Those who receive grace for grace from Christ's fullness, may be said to be filled with the fullness of God. Should not this satisfy man? Must he needs fill himself with a thousand trifles, fancying thereby to complete his happiness?

Verses 20-21: It is proper always to end prayers with praises. Let us expect more, and ask for more, encouraged by what Christ has already done for our souls, being assured that the conversion of sinners, and the comfort of believers, will be to his glory, for ever and ever.


Today’s Gospel Reading
John 6:1-21
Jesus Feeds 5000

John 6:1-21

6:1 Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), 2 and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing the sick. 3 Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. 4 The Jewish Passover Festival was near.

5 When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” 6 He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.

7 Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”

8 Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, 9 “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”

10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). 11 Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.

12 When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” 13 So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.

14 After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” 15 Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.

16 When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, 17 where they got into a boat and set off across the lake for Capernaum. By now it was dark, and Jesus had not yet joined them. 18 A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough. 19 When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were frightened. 20 But he said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.” 21 Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading.

Commentary
Verses 1-14: John relates the miracle of feeding the multitude, for its reference to the following discourse. Observe the effect this miracle had upon the people. Even the common Jews expected the Messiah to come into the world, and to be a great Prophet. The Pharisees despised them as not knowing the law; but they knew most of Him who is the end of the law. Yet men may acknowledge Christ as that Prophet, and still turn a deaf ear to him.

Verses 15-21: Here were Christ's disciples in the way of duty, and Christ was praying for them; yet they were in distress. There may be perils and afflictions of this present time, where there is an interest in Christ. Clouds and darkness often surround the children of the light and of the day. They see Jesus walking on the sea. Even the approaches of comfort and deliverance often are so mistaken, as to become the occasions of fear. Nothing is more powerful to convince sinners than that word, "I am Jesus whom thou persecutest;" nothing more powerful to comfort saints than this, "I am Jesus whom thou lovest." If we have received Christ Jesus the Lord, though the night be dark, and the wind high, yet we may comfort ourselves, we shall be at the shore before long.


Here end the Readings

The Nicene Creed

The Nicene Creed
  • We believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible.
  • And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, begotten from the Father before all ages, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made; of the same essence as the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven; he became incarnate by the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary, and was made human. He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate; he suffered and was buried. The third day he rose again, according to the Scriptures. He ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again with glory to judge the living and the dead. His kingdom will never end.
  • And we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life. He proceeds from the Father and the Son, and with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified. He spoke through the prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church. We affirm one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look forward to the resurrection of the dead, and to life in the world to come. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

The Lord's Prayer

Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us; And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Holy Communion

Holy Communion
A nondenominational serving of bread and wine

Many churches around the world are working hard to adapt to online worship, and one challenge is how our members can celebrate communion from home. Though no video can truly replace the experience of celebrating together in our places of worship, we know that where two or more are gathered, the Lord is present.

Benediction

You have been given every good gift for proclaiming God’s presence and God’s love. The world is thirsting for this good news. People struggle for words of hope and peace. As you have been blessed, now go to be a blessing in God’s Name. Amen.

The Work

Look around you, there is so much to do. This world is in no condition for us to simply sit back and watch. There is a tangible desperate need for Jesus, a glimpse of hope in the midst of hopelessness. Jesus experienced this need first hand and filled him with compassion. He turned to His disciples and said…“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.” This alone…should stir our hearts. We have a calling to make a difference. To share the truth of the Gospel and be a light in the darkness. This is the mission of The Church. It’s time for us to look beyond ourselves, to turn our focus to the field and passionately share the love of Jesus. Look around you, there is so much to do…Are you ready to do the work?



Today’s Lectionary Readings are selected from the Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, a three-year cyclical lectionary. We are currently in Year B. Beginning with the first Sunday of Advent in 2021, we will be in Year C. The year which ended at Advent 2020 was Year A. These readings complement the Sunday and festival readings: Thursday through Saturday readings help prepare the reader for the Sunday ahead; Monday through Wednesday readings help the reader reflect and digest what they heard in worship. Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, copyright © 2005 Consultation on Common Texts. www.commontexts.org. The Bible texts of the Old Testament, Epistle, and Gospel lessons are from The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible.

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